updated 2:28 PM CEST, May 24, 2023

'Issues relating to FATCA' were 'discussed' at last week's U.S.-EU Joint Financial Regulatory Forum: Joint statement

EU Parliament in Brussels Norbert Oriskó, Pixabay EU Parliament in Brussels

European Union and U.S. officials did, in fact, discuss "issues relating to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)" at a meeting of the U.S. - EU Joint Financial Regulatory Forum, as EU official had been anticipating and planning for, ahead of the Feb. 7 - 8 meeting, an official joint statement of the meeting has revealed.

Details of exactly which aspects of FATCA were discussed, how long the subject was discussed, and what if any decisions were made as a result of these talks were not, however, disclosed in the three-page statement, which was published on the U.S. Treasury's website on Monday. 

As reported,  EU officials had been planning to "ask about the possibility [of] a more permanent solution" to the problems that Europe's "accidental Americans" are continuing to struggle with as a result of FATCA when they met last week.

Andrea Liesenfeld, deputy head of retail financial services at the European Commission, the EU's executive body, had also revealed in advance of the talks that EU officials had also intend to ask why a recently-published IRS notice that grants relief to foreign financial institutions with respect to the FATCA requirement that they obtain the Tax Identification Number of all of their "U.S. person" clients and account-holders was only "temporary" rather than permanent – and why it was only being applied to accounts that already existed in 2014 or earlier.

It wasn't immediately known if this was, in fact, discussed. Liesenfeld has been asked to comment.

The IRS notice she was referring to was published on the next-to-last day of 2022, and as reported, was aimed at giving "temporary U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) relief" to non-U.S. banks and other foreign financial institutions (FFIs). Many of these financial institutions report that their apparently-accidental American citizen account-holders say they're unable to provide them with such TINs (normally an individual's Social Security number), typically because they're essentially citizens of other countries who happen to have been born in the U.S., and until recently hadn't needed these TINs. 

Joint statement mentions FATCA 'once'

The three-page joint statement published on Monday featured the words "Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act," and the acronym "FATCA," just once each.

The document's 19th sentence (out of 34) reads, in full: "Participants also discussed issues relating to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) relevant to citizens and financial firms and the recent U.S. Internal Revenue Service temporary relief to foreign financial institutions for certain pre-existing accounts."

This is followed by a sentence that addresses "capital markets" and an ongoing effort to transition away "from pael reference rates" and "efforts to promote a smooth transition away from LIBOR."

The joint statement ends: "Participants will continue to engage on these topics, as well as other topics of mutual interest, ahead of the next Forum meeting, which is expected to take place in Summer 2023."